I just want all the characters in this show to be happy, but I also want them to defy their fates…and we all know what Princess Tutu says about that.
While I find Fakir most relatable and while his various trials are the ones that hit me hardest emotionally, it’s Rue’s situation that I find most pitiable and most grotesque. Here we have a character bond by love; or, rather, by a need for love. Mythos is quite literally defined by his lack of human emotion – this much is obvious – but I consider Rue’s character to be similarly constructed out of lacks (whereas Tutu appears as an overflowing wellspring of goodness and Fakir of determination).
Episode 17, which despite being mostly a joke actually strikes me as being profound in the way Utena‘s Nanami episodes were, throws Rue’s personal abysses into sharp relief via Femio’s excesses. In fact, that Femio should beg for punishment for loving too much and being loved too much (even if it’s a delusion on his part) in the same episode that Rue fails to command someone to love her enough to die for her highlights just how far down the hole she is. And she’s attracted to Femio’s overindulgence in love, because it is what she herself lacks. No one loves Rue, and Rue does not, not really, love anyone herself (she demands love of Mythos, but she does not offer it in return). What is it the Raven says to Rue? “And only I and the prince in the story can truly love a pitiful person like you.”
Curse this Raven and his manipulations; he offers a paltry image of what Rue really needs and controls her by threatening to take the illusion of love away from her. Pouring poison into her ears. Poor girl; she doesn’t even know what she’s missing because she doesn’t even have an image of what real love ought to be. Although it’s Fakir I cry most over, I think it’s Rue whose story is most tragic and who I want most to see redeemed.
Speaking of Fakir… wow. What an absolutely brutal string of episodes for the character who’s grown most over the course of the show. He starts out trying to protect Mythos, but ends up on the wrong side of that and has to change. He makes the decision to give up his old ways of protecting and support Mythos in regaining his heart, but doing so eventually leads to Crow!Mythos rejecting him and framing him for pushing him out a window. Yet Fakir persists, endures, and moves forward. In terms of “fate,” he has no other choice, though. Unlike the other three, he has entirely stepped out of his role in the story. He’s still a knight, but a knight that was supposed to die. A knight should have lost purpose.
Fakir finds his own purpose in his love for Mythos, though, so he doesn’t need Tutu to save him in the way the ghost knight does. In my eyes, Fakir glows with the glory of defying fate. He’s just the best.
Mini-Edel is a joy. Put together by Fakir from the ashes of the one-time doll that saved him. Uzuru consumes knowledge without restraint or direction, perhaps the defining characteristic of a being with free-will. Where Edel only needed to know what Drosselmeyer instructed her to know, Uzuru has no such ordained purpose and so flies throughout the show at leisure. I wonder if Uzuru will ever have a “real” role in the story or remain a joke character. I somewhat feel the latter option would be the most perfect foil to Edel’s plot-moving nature. A beautiful contrast.
Speaking of dolls and gaining knowledge, consider also how Mythos has gained more and more of a will as his reacquires his heart. The doll that once gave Rue unquestioning love and obeyed Fakir perfectly is gone; even in sadism and malice Mythos demonstrates his agency. Or perhaps it would be better to say that the Crow does. Brainwashing/mind control-type stuff generally chafes me, particularly in genre fiction. Princess Tutu is no such crap; it works here, because it’s not just an easy-out plot device – it’s an important thematic point. What actions does our blood command of us? There are more kinds of fate that the role into which our lives place us.